Liverpool are preparing for the possibility that Zeljko Buvac may not return as Jurgen Klopp’s assistant manager by considering a familiar face to take up his role in the Anfield dugout.
Buvac has been away from the club since personal matters forced him to take a leave of absence on the eve of Liverpool’s Champions League semi final return leg against Roma.
Liverpool survived a scare to reach the Champions League final but Buvac will not return in time for the showpiece event in Kiev and may not return to Merseyside, with rumours claiming either that he had a bust-up with Klopp, or that he has been offered a managerial role elsewhere.
Previous third-in-command Peter Krawietz has been installed as Klopp’s right hand man for the time being, but it is former academy coach Pep Lijnders who may be set to take the role on a more permanent basis.
Lijnders left Liverpool in January to take over at Dutch second division side NEC Nijmegen, but he was sacked on Thursday after failing to lead the club to promotion to the Eredivisie.
When Lijnders left in January, Klopp issued a statement saying he was disappointed to lose him from the staff.
“I am gutted to be losing such a valuable member of our coaching team and such a brilliant person from our group,” Klopp said at the time. (Telegraph)
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) May 17, 2018
Lijnders was a youth team coach at PSV Eindhoven and FC Porto before joining Liverpool’s academy under Brendan Rodgers in 2014.
Klopp kept him on after he was appointed manager the following year and it is believed that Lijnders had a good relationship with the German, leading the Daily Mail to report that a return to Melwood may be on the cards.
Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo – who also back Lijnders for the role – claim that any decision on appointing a new number two will be made after the Champions League final.